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Here they are, in no particular order:
The Others (2001)
Chill factor at it's finest.
I went into the theater knowing only the premise that this was a ghost story. I left the theater thoroughly convinced I just saw the best damn ghost story ever made.
Despite having no special effects at all, and the absence of any hint of gore, Director Alejandro Amenabar managed to put together a truly creepy and chilling masterpiece. The dark atmosphere all throughout the movie was perfect, and the plot was gripping and very well written. The actors gave outstanding performances, especially Nicole Kidman. Alakina Mann was brilliant, and Fionnula Flanagan was creepy as hell.
The story revolves around Grace (Kidman) and her two children Anne (Mann) and Nicholas (Bentley), who are both suffering from photo-sensitivity and cannot be exposed directly to sunlight. This is why their unusually large house needs to be dark all the time. Following the arrival of their new servants, they begin to suspect that their house is being haunted.
Although the pace of the movie is slow, the rewards the viewer will get when they stick with it through the end more than make up for it. A top notch ghost film and one that will hardly be equaled let alone surpassed.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
An enjoyable Sci-fi/Drama/Thriller.
The Butterfly Effect is akin to the Chaos Theory, which states that the flapping of a butterfly's wing on one side of the world causes a typhoon on the other side or to put it more simply, the smallest of events can yield the biggest consequences.
It's not often that I enjoy films where Ashton Kutcher is the lead actor, but this film is definitely an exception.
Kutcher delivers a surprisingly good performance as Evan Treborn, a kid who grew up with a condition he inherited from his father where he has episodes of "blackouts". To help him remember the events that lead up to and following his blackouts, he creates "journals" of every blackout episode. Fast forward to Evan's college days - the blackout episodes are now gone, and Evan is living a normal college boy life. A girl happens upon Evan's journals while she was in the room with him, and once Evan reads one of his journals he is inexplicably temporarily transported back to that particular time and place in his journal. This leads Evan to believe he can right the wrongs he did in the past and possibly change what the future holds for him.
I think I've spoiled enough already, so I'll stop there.
The film has a very gripping plot, with little twists here and there, and the actors played their parts well. The settings and locations were spot on, and the sequencing well paced.
It deserves the 9/10 rating I gave it in my opinion.
Now this is what I call horror!
I picked up Shutter in our local video rental shop because I've always been fascinated by "ghost photos" and thought it might be an interesting film to watch. I presumed it would just be similar to films in the mold of Ringu and Ju-On where the so-called "ghosts" were more laughable than scary. I'm glad I was wrong.
For quite a long time I've been looking for a film that would really scare me. I've been a fanatic of the horror genre since I was a kid and I've seen only a handful of films that managed to genuinely put the scare into me. I'm happy to say Shutter did just that.
This film had a good premise, a few splashes of humor here and there, a good number of scenes that would make you jump and give you goosebumps and a great twist of an ending to boot.
While this may be considered "mainstream" horror by some people, Shutter definitely ranks up there among the best horror films that have come out in quite some time.
I'm giving this ****/**** stars.
Definitely better than most higher-budgeted films.
The first time I was made aware of this movie was when I saw a huge billboard of it with the tag line 'More touching than "Ghost"!'. Although the tag line was ridiculous to me at that time, it was what made me want to see the film. Curiosity getting the better of me, I rented the film, went home, popped it into my VCR, and experienced almost 2 hours of unforgettable entertainment.
Dennis Quaid was superb in his role, definitely one of his best performances so far. This was also the first time I saw Jim Caviezel on film, and I was really impressed. After seeing this film, I knew Jim was headed for bigger and better things and sure enough, he was magnanimous in The Count of Monte Cristo and The Passion of the Christ.
While the film was obviously low-budgeted, its overall excellence more than made up for whatever it lacked budget-wise. It was definitely more touching than "Ghost", and I liked it even better than classics like "Titanic".
I cannot give this film a rating any lower than 10 stars, otherwise I'd be lying to myself. To me, it deserves every single star I've given it.
A must see gem.